If I built a School
Mrs. Krissy Venosdale the author of the blog,Venspired, has taught for 11 years. She has been teaching gifted education for the past 4 years at the Hillsboro R-3 School District in Hillsboro, Missouri. She loves technology, science, space, and running with her dog Lucy. She also enjoys photography and traveling with her family. Mrs. Venosdale explains that her biggest hobby is talking and learning about education.
Mrs. Venosdale's post, If I Built a School was very interesting. She starts off by explaining this post as a Willy Wonka Moment, a chance to build her own school. I have not been a blog reader very long but this is definitely one of the most vividly entertaining posts I have ever read. Full of excitement for education; learning, teaching, and exploring. She really does depict a dream school in this post. A place where students were encouraged to explore their talents and differences while learning. I wish all children could go to a school like this. I really liked the "IdeaPaint" project. How great would it be for students to express their ideas about learning or what they would like to learn for everyone to see plus it is "Art in Motion". I also like the idea that Grade Levels would be rooms that students passed through based on readiness and ability rather than passing through based on age alone. It is so important that our children grasp and understand the concepts we are teaching them and move at a pace that is good for them based on their needs. And how fun would it be to have a tree in the Library? Awesome! This would definitely make kids want to read more. The idea I love the most is the 20% Time. A time period when teachers teach what they are most passionate about and students get to follow their passions. What a fun school this would be!
If I had a chance to build a school I would want mine to be just like Mrs. Venosdale's. I would want my students to come to a place of creativity and innovation. A place where they want to go instead of where they have to go. I would probably have a tree house in every classroom as a learning nook. I would also create a 10% Time where the students can teach their peers and their teachers about what they are passionate about. I would encourage and promote children to explore their talents, no matter what it is, because every child has a talent and they need to know that is unique and special to them. I would have all kinds of different fantastical setups where kids did not even know they were studying and learning while they were exploring the room. I think you learn more and remember more of what you learn if you are hands on and have a chance to figure things out for yourself. Yes, my school would be just like Mrs. Venosdale's. A place where children can learn and grow while expressing themselves in a fun and entertaining setting.
Eric Whitacre's Virtual Choir
Wow! Eric Whitacre's Virtual Choir video was amazing! I enjoyed watching it. I am glad Jennifer Chamber's shared this with the rest of us. It truly incredible that 185 complete strangers created such a work of art having never met in person to do it. This truly shows the power of technology. I think using the Internet in this way is a great idea. It brings people together from all around the world to express and explore their mutual talents and passions. I think this also shows how collaborative learning is a tool that needs to be taught and learned in classrooms every where. This video may also be a look in to what future classrooms may be like. Distant learning through technology. At least Whitacre's video shows it can be done. It shows that people from all walks of life can come together to create a masterpiece.
Teaching in the 21st Century
After watching Teaching in the 21st Century several times, I am still not real clear on what Kevin Roberts is trying to say. It seems like he is saying that if teachers can only teach students facts in the classroom then they will never learn or have the skill required to apply this knowledge in the real world. If this is the case then I agree with what Mr. Roberts is saying. Students have to learn somehow, through someone, how to apply what they have learned in their everyday life in the future. He also seems to be suggesting that students can learn just about anything and everything they want through technology. Sure you can learn a lot through technology but you can not learn everything. I think technology is great. I think it enhances every one's life in some way or another and I think we need it to teach our children to be prepared for the future but I do not think it needs to be the one to teach our children. I for one, would never want my child to learn through technology alone. I think it takes away human interaction with others and children need human interaction with other people besides their parents, especially at a young age.
All children are hands on learners. They use all 5 senses to learn about and explore their environments. They need to be able to touch and feel what they are learning about sometimes. You can not touch and feel the differences between hot and cold, or wet and dry through technology. Sure you can describe it and show a video that they can watch to demonstrate it but it is not allowing them to experience it for themselves. And tell me how technology is supposed to make your child be physically active? I mean sure they can watch a video to learn how to do an activity but that does not mean they are actually doing it and getting the daily exercise they need to even be a little bit healthy. I think technology is great and it is here to stay for sure, and it will, without a doubt be integral to our children's learning environment in the future. But teachers will never be obsolete in my opinion.
I am a new mom and while I was pregnant I learned and read and watched everything I could to prepare myself for the birth of my daughter and my role as her mother, but none of that prepared me for her birth. It was the once a month check-ups with my doctor that prepared me for her birth not what I read or watched because every birth is different, just like every child is different. And nothing I have read or watched or "googled" on a computer or device has taught me how to be a good mother, care giver, and provider for my daughter, that is something that is learned by trial and error and real life experience. I'm still learning and will continue to learn until my child is grown. I know giving birth or being a mother is not the same as teaching but it is the only example I have to explain that every child is different. They progress and learn different and need to be comforted differently and those things can not be learned or taught through technology alone. How can technology comfort a child? There's just no way.
Flipping the Classroom
Flipping the classroom allows students to have direct instructional videos from their teachers while at home to prepare them for the next day's lesson. This allows students to come to school with prepared questions and back ground knowledge on the content being taught. Flipping also allows the students the opportunity to re-watch the videos in preparation for tests. This project for flipping classrooms is called Fizz, and it was created by Dr. Lodge McCammon, who is a curriculum specialist at The Friday Institute for Educational Innovation. According the videos Fizz is only being applied in Math classes.
I actually think Fizz is a great idea, especially in Math. Math can be difficult to understand for some students. I know it was really difficult for me. I had a Math tutor for middle and high school and I still struggled. I would take good notes and I asked questions to better understand but by the time I got home to complete my homework I would forget how to do it. The Math I was taking was way more advanced than when my parents were on school so they were no help either. I knew if I could see my teacher work the problem one more time I could remember how to do it and Fizz allows for this to happen. I would definitely use this in my classroom. I think Math is a subject you understand better with repetition and practice, so being able to go back and review the teacher work and teach the lessons multiple times allows more repetition and practice, which leads to a better Math student.